Chapter 52:

Shifting Into a Catalyst

Unconsciously Interested


“Err....” A chuckle played in my throat as I cautiously pulled my face from Kyashii’s. “I… I’m sorry… Again… A-ha-ha? I haven’t the foggiest—”

“It’s alright, Yuyo!” Kyashii quickly interrupted me. “D-Don’t be so quick to say sorry all the time. Though that surprised me, I t-thought you were going to k-kiss me again.” I ended up with a skittish smile from her.

“Nooo! Ha-haa? No, I... I was not trying to d-do that, Kyashii....” Did I really try to kiss her again? But that was way out of my league, r-right?! It’s just that as if my mind slipped into an almost trance before Tomoka showed up.

“Ohh... Really, huh??” Her smile wore off as soon as she squinted at me.

“Y-Yes. I honestly have no idea what has gotten into me. Err... My head was in the clouds; sorry about that.” I pinched my cheek, staring at the floor in muddledness. Regardless of my best efforts to explain it, I’m not even sure I’m convincing myself, either!

Arrgh! Things keep on getting more and more awkward.

“. . . .”

It’s getting increasingly awkward, huh?

If I keep being like this, things are bound to feel awkward between Kyashii and me before I know it, right? It’s only a matter of time.


I’ve got to get my act together! My reactions are getting far too extreme these days.

“Yuyo…” I suddenly felt Kyashii’s hands seize my cheeks.

“Hmm? —mpph!!” With the blink of an eye, Kyashii’s spellbinding lips plunged into my own before I could utter a word!

I felt all of my body parts tighten up right off the bat.

Wha— What is going on??

I remained firmly rooted to the spot as a strange sensation spread like wildfire over me. Uhh~... I closed my eyes mindlessly yet again as my clear-headedness slowly withered into nothingness.

Kyashii’s soft and warm lips locking on my cold lips actually feels nice. Now that I get to feel her lips more thoroughly this time, I realize they’re not just soft and velvety but taste exquisitely sweet, too. Hmm… Does she have her lip gloss on? I hadn’t got a fix on how pleasant the taste of her lips was until this time.

And Kyashii’s wafting an inviting scent as well. I could feel her warm breath tickling my nose as we took in each other’s breath. It didn’t take long before her delicate hands caressing my cheeks made their way around my neck.

Hnnnggh~…. N-No... I... I just can’t think straight anymore. I got caught up in a whirlwind of emotions, and the weight of such overwhelming sensations totally melted my mind.

With mushy consciousness, my hands start stroking the back of Kyashii’s head, running my fingers through her hair. Almost without understanding it, I’m instinctively mirroring the movement of Kyashii’s lips as I gently pull her face to the side. Hmmn~… My lips involuntarily shifted their focus from her top lip to her bottom lip.

Haaah~… This is making me feel weird. The taste of Kyashii’s lips is so entrancing and intoxicating that I can’t seem to leave her lips alone. Not only do I feel the heat of her tender lips and the pleasant friction, but I also sense a tingling sensation alongside the thumping in my body.

Uhmn… W-Wait...

“Huff~!” When Kyashii retreated from my lips, both of us took deep breaths. “Haaah~!”


W-What a relief to finally put an end to that!

I think that’s the right moment to stop kissing. Those strange sensations could be dangerous if we keep doing that for more than a few seconds!

“. . . . . . .”



In a heartbeat, I lightning-fast regained control of my senses.


All I could do was gently let go of Kyashii from my grasp as disbelief slowly crept over my face! Interestingly enough, I could tell her feelings matched mine when she turned bright red again and pressed her palms against her lips.

Oh… my… God!!

What… What were we thinking?! And w-why...

W-Why d-did we do that?!

“. . . . .”

H-Hold up a second...

There’s something inexplicable about what went down immediately troubles me. “H-Hey, Kyashii, how did you learn to kiss like that??” The startled look in my eyes turned to confusion.

“Whaaa—!! T-That’s what you’re going on about?!” Her mouth flew open as her eyes grew wide in shock.

“W-Well, yeah! Quite frankly, you’re surprisingly g-good at it. Isn’t it beyond the realms of possibility for someone who isn’t dating or never had a lover to be that exceptionally good at kissing??” My brows knitted.

Kyashii’s hand slid to her forehead as though she were trying to relieve a headache. “Gaaah! I can’t decide which is harder to let go of — your irritating flattery or your devil-may-care attitude following that kiss!” I don’t even have time to blink before she gives me the death glare. “Yuyo, you’re such a jerk!”

“Huh?! I was just curious as to why you’re so g-good at it. What’s wrong with that?” I’m in the dark about why, but I’m keen to find out. “So... H-Have you ever kissed someone like that before?”

“Gosh! You’re unbelievable! Oh my gosh!! This is frustrating!” She thumped her foot furiously. “Nooo, I haven’t! Y-You’re the first I ever k-kissed!”

“Ohh… I-Is that so?” I think a tickle went through my chest. “Uhh… Aherm! But still, how did you get so good at kissing??” I’m not completely sold yet. I’m not quite sure how kissing feels in general, but for her to stimulate such an array of bodily reactions in me, I’d say she’s above average for someone in her shoes, right?

“That... Umm… It’s… It’s just instinct, I guess? I’ve been putting in a lot of effort to figure that out for quite some time now, but—”

“Hold on… You’ve been learning how to kiss?!”

“Yeah… And so??” Kyashii scowled at me. “It’s not off-color to look into things like that. We’re high schoolers. Hmph! A knowledge of that kind could come in handy in a situation like this!”

“Eeh?? What? Wait... Am I to understand this was a test to see if your newfound knowledge had indeed worked?” Did I just take part in another experiment all over again?!

“Whaatt?! Definitely not! And that idea never once crossed my mind! I didn’t k-kiss you just to see how it feels!” She roared at quite a volume. “Now hold on... I’m not the only one with decent kissing skills here! Since you... since you k-kissed me back like that, I’d argue you’ve got kissing skills not to be sneezed at as well! Don’t you think you should also ask yourself some questions, Yuyo?!”

“Haaaah?? You kissed me first! That’s why! Moreover, how would I even know if I hardly had any kissing skills?! I didn’t even realize I was reacting to your kiss like that!” My retort was indignant. “That aside, why are we talking about that kiss in this manner again??”

“You started it! That much is obvious! Gosh!” She folded her arms while releasing a hostile glance at me.


I guess we’re back to squabbling as usual.


Well, I think it’s better we’re quibbling like this. At the very least, that kiss didn’t seem to get in the way of our interactions.

In any case, I need to take another deep breath and settle down for now. There’s no sign that this huffy girl will back down easily.


“I’m sorry, alright? I just wanted to know a few things about you, Kyashii.” I held my arms out at my sides, palms upwards.

“Hmph! A great deal of your curiosity is misplaced, Yuyo! It’s a real pain when you inadvertently put things in the wrong order!” She looked annoyed at me. “Hmph! There goes the mood after that kiss. Oh my gosh! This is beyond belief! Gaaah!” Her foot struck the floor yet again.

Right… That kiss, huh?



Recalling that kiss has triggered a new bout of face fever in me. “Hmm… Yeah… A-About that… Kyashii, w-why did you kiss me like that in the first place?” I locked my stern gaze on her.

“Huh?! Aaahh... Umm...” Her eyes averted from me. “It was just an i-impu— I mean… S-Since t-there’s no one around to see it this time, and you still look frazzled after that game….”

Now that I’ve asked about the kiss, I can tell she’s not comfortable going into details, huh?


Really... Unparalleled inconsistencies are in her. “Hmm? What do those have to do with it?”

“Ahh~?? Ermm... Y-You know, I’ve heard that k-kissing can improve a person’s mood because it stimulates the production of hormones responsible for good mood!” Kyashii sounded like she was expounding on something she was well-versed in, yet her hands were moving aimlessly. “T-That’s right! So, I assumed a kiss from your best friend would help you ease off. A-ha-ha!! Heh~!”


There are better ways of alleviating stress, but she chose to kiss me instead?! Even worse, that did absolutely nothing to help me relax!

I can only shake my head at her. She’s just as weird as I am. “Is that piece of trivia about kissing even true??” I wonder how far her knowledge goes when it comes to those things.

“Of course! D-Didn’t it make you feel g-good?” Kyashii has an edgy look on her face.

“Hmm. Yeah. It’s good… So good that it makes me feel weird.” My voice was low and hushed.

“Eh?! W-What do you mean w-weird?!” Kyashii stares deep into my eyes.

“Hey… Do best friends kiss like that, Kyashii?” I met her gaze, but my eyes wandered to her lips within seconds.

“. . . . .”

This is a flipping hell!

The way my repugnant eyes keep on wandering over those annoyingly charming lips is getting to me! You darn eyes, quit staring already!

“W-What are you trying to say, Yuyo?”

“Uhh... What I mean is... I believe that would be the kind of kiss a c-couple would share.” My voice trailed off.

“Eh?! C-Couple?! You think so, too?!” She blatted.

Too, huh?

My lips let out a puff of breath. “Yeah. So... Kyashii-chan, if ever you want to help me wind down, please don’t do that again, alright?”

“Eh?! D-Do you hate it, after all?” Kyashii’s expression changed instantly to one of gloom.

“What are you feeling dejected about?” I chortled. “It’s not that I hate it; I just have issues with it. Doing that again won’t be any good as I might get the wrong idea myself.” Unconsciously, I bite my lower lip.

“Umm? Wrong idea? Such as what, Yuyo~?” I caught Kyashii’s cheeky smile flashing across her lips.

What was that for?

“. . . . .”

I guess she really enjoys teasing me, huh?

And yet here I am, mulling everything through in great detail like a complete idiot.


“You know what, now that I give it some thought, maybe it’s fine if you keep giving me that kiss each time I’m not in a good mood, Kyashii-chan~.” I beamed at her.

“Huh?! W-What?!” There’s yet another look of shock written all over her face.


“You’ve said it yourself: a kiss can do wonders on a person’s mood. If so, it’s not a bad idea if my best friend will lend a helping hand when I’m down in the dumps, isn’t it?”

“E-eh...?” Kyashii struggled to figure out what I was trying to get at.

“Hmm? I suppose you don’t mind me kissing you like that on a blue day as well, right, Kyashii-chan~?” Quite a smile spread across my face.

“Heeh?!!” I think she’s going through a glitch. Pfft!

“What... If my memory serves me as it should, you’re still my wife, right~?” I sent her a wink. “Caring for my wife is part of my duty, too.”

“Oh… ooh…” Kyashii stares at me in a bewildered fashion. “W-Well… Yes, y-you’re right. I’m your best friend and w-wife, so... s-sure, let’s do that, Yuyo!” She stuck her chin out at me as if she’d just accepted a challenge.


I didn’t realize how much brazen-faced she had become until now. “Then, it’ll be a pleasure to be a help to you, Kyashii-chan~.” I kept my smile on.

“Hmph! That smile on your face makes me uneasy, but if you try anything funny, I’ll get you in trouble, Shibasaki Yuyo!” She squinted at me with her lips pursed.

A giggling fit erupts from me. “Yeah… Yeah… I got it, Kyashii-chan~. Anyway, shouldn’t you be taking a shower by now?”

“Oh, right. Umm... Aren’t you coming inside yet?”

“Hmm? Why?” My smile curled into a smirk. “Do you want us to shower together?”

“Hiiih?!? Tha-That’s not what I meant!” Kyashii roared with flushed cheeks. “I-It’s getting cold out here, and it might be time to head back inside!”


“Aww~. I was hoping you’d invite me in for a shower with you. I might be up for it, you know~.” There’s a tinge of playful jest in my voice.

“Whaa—! Well, I’m not! I… I’m not mentally prepared for that just yet!” She screeched.


“Heeh~. Is that so? When will you be ready then?” I shut down a grin.

“Whaatt?!? I d-don’t know! Why are you even asking such questions, you dummy?! Goossh! I... I’m going to take a shower now!” She strode grumpily to the door.


“Yuyo, don’t stay too long here, okay?”

“Yeah. I’ll be inside in no time.” I simply watched her go in.


Kyashii sure is bolder now, but she still gets easily embarrassed by twists and turns, huh?


I wasn’t being serious when I said we could kiss in a down mood, though. I just noticed she was having a good time teasing me, so I decided to join in the fun. I’m sure she saw it right through. Moreover, we spend all our time at school, which means there’s no way for another one to happen.


In all honesty, I’d rather not do that kiss again. That’s not just the sort of kiss you should do with your best friend.

“. . . . .”

Yeah... Not that kind of kiss…

Even someone like me who has never been in that situation can tell that kiss is no longer between friends. It’s different from the peck Tomoka gave me and that unexpected kiss during the game. Kyashii’s kiss stirred every fiber of my being to bliss. Our kiss didn’t gross me out; if anything, I’d say it was exhilarating.

Still and all, I can’t quite put my finger on the complex range of sensations I went through when we kissed. The only thing I know for sure is that the kiss rendered me incapable of recognizing myself.

I exhaled another long sigh.

Midterm exams are coming up fast, and I’ve been steering clear of a thought that has relentlessly been bugging me lately because I don’t know how to start making sense of it. I’m not even sure if that’s the right way to look at it.


That kiss... My reactions... Everything about the experience is now shifting into a catalyst, pushing me to confront something I’ve been avoiding asking myself.

“. . . . . .”

C-Could it be that I l-like Kyashii in a r-romantic sense?